Colombo South Sand Nourishment Project: Delays an added loss to Govt.

 Continued work during curfew saved millions of rupees

By Sarah Hannan

The completed Colombo South Sand Nourishment Project, which stabilised the Mount Lavinia to Angulana coastal stretch and restored the eroded natural sand bar at Kalutara River Mouth, cost Rs. 890 million and continues to be criticised, while the Government maintains that delays would have cost losses amounting to millions to the State’s coffers.

Environmentalists raised concerns stating that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) had not been carried out prior to commencing these projects and predicted that the creation of artificial beaches will only aggravate the coastal erosion.

Further, they questioned the urgency of the Department of Coast Conservation and Coastal Resource Management to continue the project work even when the country was placed under curfew.

Department of Coast Conservation and Coastal Resource Management Director General Prabath Chandrakeerthi, speaking to The Morning, said that Cabinet approval for the Colombo South Sand Nourishment Project was granted in February 2018.

He said: “The tender was awarded to Rohde Nielsen A/S of Denmark in January this year and was given a period of three months to complete the project. A total of 800,000 cubic metres of sand was dredged from pre-determined borrow areas.”

Chandrakeerthi added that, according to the terms, if the project work was halted midway, for each hour of work lost, the Government of Sri Lanka would have had to pay Rs. 200,000 per hour to the Danish company. He reiterated that by continuing the project work amidst the curfew, the department was able to save millions of taxpayer rupees.